The Dining Hall & Chapel

By Averil Staunton

To the rear of the main building was a long narrow structure linking the Dining Hall/Chapel to the Infirmary Building at the back of the complex.  The dining room had separate entrances from the male and female yards on either sides. A large partition with double doors separated this room. Males and females had to eat separately in silence.

This area could be used as day rooms for able-bodied men and women if needed. The rear end towards the infirmary was converted to a chapel on a Sunday. It had a beautiful arch over the altar.  This was described to me by an elderly lady who attend mass there as a child prior to 1922. One of the unspoken rules she mentioned was never to have eye contact with any of the inmates to show them respect, in other words to prevent recognition thus avoiding embarrassment.  

Women sitting on forums facing forward as this prevent the opportunity to chat. Meals had to be eaten in silence. Photo Wikipedia open source.


Course: Remembering our Heritage – Ballinrobe Workhouse

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